Back to school: Staying healthy

Whether in the classroom or on the athletic fields, children and teens are exposed to situations where their health can be compromised.To help you prepare and be fully back-to-school ready, here are some common health issues that pop up during the school year.

Aspiring athletes: It’s the perfect time to get your superstar a physical before heading back to practice. Most schools require their athletes to have a sports-specific physical before stepping on the field, and with extended hours at local clinics, it’s an easy stop before heading back to school. Athletes should also be aware of lingering heat from the summer and take precautions to stay healthy while practicing or working out in high temperatures.

 Work slowly to build up endurance in hot situations.

 Get plenty of sleep.

 Drink lots of fluids before, during and after workouts.

 Quick cooling is key to preventing heat-related deaths; ice baths can also bring the body temperature down in a serious heat situation.

Battling bugs: Since children are likely to be exposed to germs at school, here are some of the most common illnesses and symptoms that strike children during the school year. Immunizations can help prevent the spread of these infections, as can regular hand washing.

 meningitis and meningococcal disease

 influenza

 norovirus

 MRSA (staph)

 pertussis (whooping cough)

Hidden germs: Knowing the common infections that circulate at school can help keep you ahead of the stomach bug, but germs can hide in a variety of places, like your child’s backpack or a cell phone. Here are some other places where your kids may encounter germs: pencil sharpener, desktops, cafeteria, school pools and gym class

The good news is that most germs and bugs can be nipped in the bud with regular hand washing and some parental vigilance. Preventive physicals and immunizations are also key to keeping your kids healthy.

Doctors Express Urgent Care in South Plainfield is a state-of-the-art urgent care center open extended hours seven days a week.Walk-ins are welcome, most insurance plans are accepted, and they offer a comprehensive suite of in-house services that include digital x-rays and on-site lab testing.All patients are treated by boardcertified physicians and wait times are comparatively short. Visit Doctors Express at 907 Oak Tree Ave., Oak Park Commons (near the Super A&P) in South Plainfield or call 908-222-3500. Doctors Express is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.